Sabbato in Octavam Paschae

Sabbato in Albis, Saturday in the Easter Octave...

Ad experimentum. This is today’s nonsense, copied from Blogger. Evidently, the musical selections (from YouTube) can’t happen here (or else I haven’t figured out how to add them). Hmm.


It is still too dark, at half past five, to 'read' the eastern sky; this may mean that there is cloudiness overhead. Today's Mass is Eduxit Dóminus pópulum suum in exsultatióne, allelúia (Introibo). The Lord brought forth His people in exultation, alleluia, and His elect in joy, alleluia, alleluia. Presumably today is specially noted as being in Albis (every day in the Octave is in Albis, after all)since tomorrow, Low Sunday as it has been traditionally called, is in fact in Albis deponendis, the day of the taking off of the white baptismal garments. Or maybe today is in Albis deponendis, too, being considered as, as it were, the vigil of tomorrow. I'm sure one of the venerable old fellows will explain this.

Ante Primam. A bit of rain in the air as I took my morning walk, stopping off at the supermarket. Brownie mix (the landlady will eat brownies; not cornbread, for some reason) and vegetable oil, bread, and green beans. The beans sounded so tasty earlier but the frisson has dissipated; rice is left from yesterday so it will be just the beans that occupy my cooking time today. Am drinking a mix of orange, lemon, and tangerine juice that I squeezed ten minutes ago; it is delicious, and the third morning of it, but I wonder how long this addition to the morning routine will last. Time for Prime. The Mass was streamed at Saint-Eugène at... an hour too early for me; the video recording is here. Sunday Mass is back to 0200.

Was interested to re-read this post at Le Salon Beige from yesterday, this morning with its accumulated comments. As one of the commenters suggests, more than likely, so long as the folks at Saint-Eugène make public, rhetorical gestures of obeisance to the plaguers' regime-- masks here there and everywhere, pots of sanitizer at the communion rail-- I presume that Mons Aupetit will manage to forget his 'canonical prosecution' and that the civil prosecutor will exact 30 or so pieces of silver (135 euros seems to be the fine for going about in public without a mask) and get on with his life. What I found of more concern was the one commenter's noticing that Saint-Eugène celebrates the Traditional Rite in its pre-1955 state in Holy Week: these are not the most congenial of circumstances in which to put the existence of formal or informal permission for this into examination. On the other hand, that Mons Aupetit raised the specter of closing the church is unsettling.  Time for Terce and a pot of tea. 

It's always a good idea to check in at L'Observatoire du Christianophobie; there is a weekly email update, too. It helps with perspective. I mean this in both the larger sense (our fellow Catholics and Christians are being martyred for the Faith) and also in the lesser (that a streak of sprayed paint graffito can be thought of in terms of 'Christianophobia'-- I don't mean that at all dismissively but it is a very broad category indeed that can contain it and martyrdom).

Post Nonam. I think I’ll begin with Dom Prosper today.

The name given in the liturgy to this day, is Saturday in albis, or, more correctly, in albis deponendis because it was today that the neophytes were to lay aside the white robes they had been wearing during the whole Octave. This Octave had, indeed, begun earlier for them than for the rest of the faithful, inasmuch as it was on the night of Holy Saturday that they were regenerated, and vested with these white garments, the emblem of the purity of their souls. It was, therefore, on the evening of the following Saturday, and after the Office of Vespers, that they put off their baptismal robes, as we will describe farther on. In Rome, the Station is in the Lateran basilica….

And further on.

… The Vespers, on each of the days of this week, were celebrated in the manner we described on the Sunday. There was a numerous attendance, each day, in the basilica; and the faithful thus testified their affectionate interest in the white-robed neophytes, who visited, during the Vespers of each day, the sacred font where they had been born to the new life of grace. This afternoon, the concourse of people is greater than on the preceding days, for an interesting ceremony is to take place. The neophytes are about to lay aside the outward symbol of innocence, which they have been wearing; but they are also to give solemn promise to maintain the inward purity of soul. By this public ceremony the Church restores the newly baptized to the duties of their ordinary station of life: they must now return to the world, and comport themselves as Christians, disciples of Christ, for such they are. The visit to the baptistery has been made, and the Office of Vespers has terminated with the station before the crucifix of the chancel: the neophytes are then led to room adjoining the cathedral, in which is prepared large vessel of water. The bishop goes to his throne. Seeing the newly baptized standing around him, he addresses them in discourse, wherein he expresses the joy he feels, as pastor, at the increase wherewith it has pleased God to bless his much-loved flock. He congratulates them upon the grace they have received; and then, alluding to the main object of their coming together this afternoon, i.e. the laying aside of the white garments they received after Baptism, he warns them, with paternal affection, to keep guard over themselves, and see that they never sully the purity of soul, of which their white robes have been but an emblem. These were lent to the neophytes by the Church, as we said on Holy Saturday, they come now to restore them. The water in which the garments are to be washed, is blessed by the pontiff. As soon as he has finished the address, to which we have just been alluding, he says a prayer, wherein he speaks of the power, given to this element, of cleansing the stains of the soul herself. Then turning to the neophytes, he recites Psalm 116, in thanksgiving; to which he adds this beautiful prayer: Visit, Lord, thy people with thy salvation! Behold it now illumined with the Paschal joy! But do thou vouchsafe to preserve in our neophytes what thou thyself hast wrought in them unto salvation. Grant, that whilst laying aside these white robes, the change may be but exterior; that the spotless purity of Christ, which the eye cannot see, may ever be in their souls, so that they may never lose it; and that thy grace may assist them to gain, by good works, that immortal life, whereunto the Paschal mystery obliges us to aspire. After this, aided by their sponsors, the men by their godfathers, the women by their godmothers, the neophytes take off their white garments, which are then consigned to those whose duty it is to wash and keep them. The sponsors having assisted their spiritual children to put on their ordinary dress, lead them to the pontiff, who distributes to each an image of the divine Lamb, stamped on wax: it is the Paschal symbol, the Agnus Dei. The last vestige of this interesting ceremony [in our day] is the distribution of the Agnus Dei. This distribution is made by the Pope, on this day, in Rome, the first and every seventh year of his pontificate. We have already described the rite observed in their blessing, and we then drew the attention of our readers to the allusion to the ancient form of Baptism by immersion. The Agnus Dei are blessed on the Wednesday of Easter Week: on the following Saturday, there is what is called Papal Chapel in the palace. After High Mass, the Agnus Dei are brought before the Pontiff, who is seated on a throne. The prelate, who presents them, sings the following words, which are taken from one of the beautiful responsories [given earlier in today’s essay]: ‘Holy Father! These are the new lambs, and they have announced to us the Alleluia: they have come but now to the fount: they are filled with light.’ The Pope answers: ‘Deo gratias’. They who are happy enough to witness this function, are forcibly reminded of the ancient ceremony we have been describing, and in which the newly baptized were led before the bishop, as the innocent lambs whom he so gladly welcomed. The Pope then distributes the Agnus Dei to the Cardinals, Prelates, and others presented by the master of ceremonies: and thus is concluded this function, which is interesting, not only because of its signification, but also because of the sacred object wherewith it consoles us….

Turning to Blessed Ildefonso next, he provides some additional details about the ceremonies of the Agnus Dei.

The conclusion today of the baptismal celebrations calls the neophytes together again in the Lateran basilica beside the font in which on Easter Eve they were born to newness of life. These are the last moments of their spiritual infancy, for tomorrow they will be weaned, as it were, and will take their place among the rest of the faithful. Hence today’s stational liturgy seems to be influenced more than ever by the thought of their purity and innocence, like a loving mother carried away by the beauty of her new-born child. On this day in the early Roman Liturgy the Pope used to distribute to the people the Agnus Dei of blessed wax mixed with sacred chrism, on which was impressed the image of the Lamb of God. This custom, one of great antiquity, took place during the Mass, whilst the schola of the cantors chanted the invocation Agnus Dei before the Pax preceding the Communion. In the 14th century the ceremony is thus described. During the singing of the Agnus Dei the Pontiff distributes the waxen Agnus Dei to the cardinals and prelates, placing them in their mitres [am doubtful that this is quite accurate; am envisioning the Pontiff climbing a portable ladder…]. At the end of the holy Sacrifice he proceeds to the Triclinium and sits down to table. During the meal an acolyte appears on the threshold with a silver bowl containing the Agnus Dei, and addresses the Pope in these words: Domine, Domine, isti sunt agni novelli qui annuntiaverunt Alleluia; modo venerunt ad fontes, repleti sunt claritate, Alleluia. Having advanced to the centre of the hall, the cleric repeats the same words; then approaching still nearer to the Pontiff he once more proclaims his message in a louder voice and with greater emphasis, this time placing- the bowl on the papal table. The Pope then begins to distribute the Agnus Dei amongst those of his household, to the priests, the chaplains, and the acolytes, and even caused some to be sent as gifts to the Catholic sovereigns of Europe.

This being an experiment, am stopping there. Hmm. We shall see.

It is also the feast of Saint Maddalena (19th century), of Saint Fulbert (11th century), and of Saint Miguel de los Santos (17th century).

V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.

LDVM